4 Habits That Are Unproductive—And How To Quit Them
Last updated on : June 11 2021
In this article we cover some everyday bad habits and suggestions for healthy activities to replace them.
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Identifying Your Bad Habits
Having a set routine can do wonders for our productivity and mental health, but sometimes our practices aren't as healthy as they should be and, when this happens, we suffer.
Don't worry—we all have bad habits that make us less productive or focused than we need to be. Still, once you can start identifying what these habits are and actively implementing strategies to change your behavior, you'll notice instant results.
Many people mistakenly fall into the mindset that working long hours or through breaks will make you productive. Surprisingly, stepping away from your work to focus on something completely different, like meditation, painting, or reading the newspaper, will bring you back to your work with fresh eyes and a new mindset.
Here are some everyday bad habits and suggestions for other activities to replace them.
Bad Habit #1: Binge-Watching TV
We all love sitting down at the end of the day and binge-watching our latest favorite show, but if TV is the only activity you do to help you relax, you're not setting yourself up for success.
While television can be entertaining and relaxing, it can also impact your cognitive functioning as you get older—if you're watching too much, too often.
Researchers have also found that many people who spend a lot of time watching TV tend to have unhealthy habits such as little exercise or poor nutrition.
If you find yourself spending more than two hours per night watching TV, try to set a goal for yourself to decrease your TV time and replace it with another hobby.
Replace With: Reading a Book
We suggest taking some of your TV time and dedicating it to reading a great book.
Reading has the opposite impact on your brain as TV—it improves your cognitive functioning. And, as you age, it's essential to, shall we say, "exercise" your brain to continually create new neural pathways and boost your memory and concentration.
Bad Habit #2: Working Outside of Work Hours
You may not consider yourself a workaholic, but if you're continually spending free time outside of work hours to think about or complete work-related projects, you're going to burn yourself out.
Pushing yourself to keep working even if you're feeling fatigued may make you feel as though you're getting closer to accomplishing your goal, but you're making yourself less productive.
When your brain is staring at and thinking about the same thing for an extended period, it becomes worn out and loses focus and the ability to concentrate.
Even if you close your computer and head home after office hours, you might be working through lunch and break times, choosing to push through the workday instead of giving yourself time to regroup.
Set specific work hours for yourself, make it a goal not to check emails at home, and allow yourself breaks throughout the day.
Replace With: Doing a Craft
Crafting is one of the best ways to de-stress. It provides you with a new task to focus your concentration on and gives your brain a much-needed break from work.
You can try working on something like a diamond painting whenever you need a break from work or make it your post-work activity to prevent yourself from logging into your email and getting right back at it.
If you don't want to start a craft in the office, you can occupy your break time with other activities like going for a walk or reading a book.
Just be sure to give your brain a break, as it will make you more productive when you return with a new and relaxed mindset.
Bad Habit #3: Taking Too Many Naps
Trust us, because we love a good nap as much as the next person. And, some days, call for one more than others.
But, if you're napping every day for long periods or taking multiple naps per day, you're doing yourself a disservice. You may even be causing feelings of fatigue because you're oversleeping. Sounds strange, right? But, it's true.
Sleeping too much can cause feelings of extreme tiredness. Aim to get eight hours of sleep each night and try practicing things like meditation if you have difficulty falling asleep.
Replace With: Exercise
Instead of sneaking back under the sheets for an hour or two longer, head to the gym.
Exercising will not only give you a boost of energy but also improve your mood. Working out is linked with the release of endorphins, which causes feelings of happiness.
On the other hand, Oversleeping can induce feelings of depression, so try skipping the nap and get outside for a jog.
Bad Habit #4: Not Creating a Set Schedule
If you've been working from home—or even if you're in an office—not having a schedule for yourself can make it very difficult to be productive.
You may feel overwhelmed by your responsibility but unsure where to start, or you may experience a lack of motivation or direction.
Replace With: A Predictable Daily Schedule
Whether you're working from home or in an office, you need a schedule.
Figure out a routine that works for you and encourage yourself to wake up at the same time, eat a healthy breakfast, and start your day off the same way to alert your brain that it's time to get into work mode and accomplish your tasks.
For example, some people might spend the first 20 minutes of their day answering emails or writing down what they need to accomplish before the end of the day.
Find something that works for you and stick to your schedule.
How To Change A Habit
A tried and tested way is to become more aware of your bad habits, so you can develop strategies to change them.
To start, try listing out the bad habits you don't want anymore, reminding yourself every time you do one. This simple step will help you become more aware of them and allow you to address them.
Then identify the places, people, or activities you associate with these bad habits, and start changing your behavior to exclude these associations.
For example, if you nap too much in the afternoons, it might be that you do so only when you are at home, near your bed. To change your habit, find something else o do in the afternoons, like going to the gym. If you remove the opportunity to nap, eventually, you'll remove the bad habit.
However, when removing the association, ensure you replace the bad habit with a good one. You don't want to watch TV instead of napping, for instance.
How Long Does It Take To Change A Habit
It's generally accepted to take 21 days to form a new habit and two months to 250 days to become fully integrated or automatic.
However, there's no one-size-fits-all figure, which is why this time frame is so broad. Some habits are more comfortable to form than others, and some of us may find it easier to develop new behaviors than others.
In the end, the only timeline that matters is the one that works best for you. So test out what it takes to form new habits and set about doing so regularly.
Recognizing your bad habits and looking for ways to change those into positive habits is the first step to leading a more healthy, productive life.
Many of us have been working from home over the last year, giving us a new type of schedule to adjust to and perhaps leading us to practice habits that aren't ideal for productivity.
If you make a bad habit of practicing any of the things we mentioned, try slowly implementing changes. Use your break time to de-stress from work and help yourself return to your responsibilities revitalized.
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